It has been a couple of years since the Yankees’ last championship in the Raphael Jackson Double A Baseball League, but after a 13-11 scare against the Cobras they are one game away from being on top of St. Croix baseball once again.
The Cobras who at one point in the game trailed 12-1, whittled away at the Yankee lead until they got to within one run at 12-11. But the pitching of Eric Perez and Leroy Simmonds preserved the victory.
The Yankees off to a fast start, erupting for six runs in the top of the first inning on two-run singles by José Morales and Perez, a sac fly by Jermaine Lynch and an RBI ground-out by Shakeel Newton to take the early lead. The Cobras answered with an unearned run to trail 6-1 after one inning.
After a scoreless second inning, the Yankees were back on the attack in the top of the third, plating three runs to extend their lead to 9-1. They scored three runs on a two-run double by Dwayne Harvey and an RBI single off the bat of Lynch. The Cobras had no answer in their half of the inning.
RBI doubles by Lynch and Steve Simmonds and an RBI single by Harvey in the top of the fourth put across three more runs for the Yankees for a huge 12-1 lead. The Cobras cut the lead to 12-2, scoring a run on Cruz Soto’s RBI ground-out.
Luis Frontal came on in relief of Cobras starter Robbie Camacho and shut down the Yankees for the next four innings, and his team began to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fifth. With their fans dancing in the stands to a Latin rhythm section, they scored six runs against Yankees starter Eli Ramirez on two-run singles by Dario Linares and Jose Rivera, a bases-loaded walk drawn by Justino Navarro and an unearned run to trail 12-8.
The score would stay that way until the bottom of the eighth when the Cobras plated three more runs on a two-run single by Joshua Torres and a Yankees error to pull to within one. This only revved up the Cobras fans even more, the rhythm section got even louder and the dancing more frenzied as their team now had all the momentum.
The Yankees added what they hoped would be an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Cobras error. The Cobras threatened in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run came to the plate, but after Perez shakily got the first two outs, Yankees closer Leroy Simmonds came on to get the final out and preserve the victory.
The Yankees will try to wrap up the series on Saturday at the D.C. Canegata ball park while the Cobras will be trying to bounce back.
Ramirez got the win on the hill for the Yankees with good relief efforts from Perez and Simmonds, while Camacho got the loss for the Cobras. Top batters for the Yankees were Harvey, 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Lynch and Steve Simmonds were both 2 for 4 with two RBIs. For the Cobras, Rivera was 4 for 5 with two RBIs and Joshua Torres was 3 for 5 with two RBIs.